BY BEATRICE BACHLEDA
“If you don’t like this play, just wait 10 minutes, another one’s coming.” Eileen Moushey a coordinator for the second annual 8 x 10 TheatreFest at Weathervane Playhouse, brimmed with excitement as she described the event. Picture it: you buy a ticket for $10, sit down in a lovely theater, and watch eight plays all in a row. No, really. It’s possible, because each play is only 10 minutes long.
Also known as “shorts,” these 10-minute plays caught the public’s attention in 1977 when The Actors Theatre of Louisville added it to their Humana Festival of New Plays. These shorts are not particularly easy to write. “Imagine trying to condense a whole story into just 10 pages!” Moushey exclaimed. But they grew in popularity because of the unique experience of variety in one sitting. They are for the theater world what wine tastings and small-course dinners are for the food world. TheatreFest promises to be a sampling of incredible stories, each wonderfully executed in just 10 short minutes. “These plays are a sort of celebration for the art of playwriting and the playwrights themselves,” Moushey said. “We want to honor the art as well as put on a good show.”
Since December, Moushey and her group of readers looked through 150 submissions to choose the final eight that would make it to TheatreFest. The submissions were nationwide, and the finalists come from as far as Maine, Texas and California, and as near as our very own Christina Blosco of Norton. Amateurs and professionals alike were welcome to participate, though the finalists boast some major credits, cementing the fact that these plays are really, really good.
“The plays we chose: Some are funny, some are sweet and heartfelt, and some are sad,” Moushey said. One spotlights a young woman waking up to a real-life Prince Charming in her New York City apartment. Another follows a woman who decides to take comedian classes, only to realize it’s not what she expected. Yet another is of a science-fiction genre with a futuristic setting. And the one written by Ohio native Blosco chronicles the experiences that two very different expectant mothers have with each other. Pay attention, because each play will reference, or have somewhere on set, a vintage microphone. “It was just a little fun bit that we put in for the submissions,” Moushey explained. “Last year, it was an antique chair. This year, it’s a vintage microphone. It’s like a little extra inspiration for the writers.”
Moushey is still surprised to think of how popular last year’s First Annual TheatreFest was among not just theater fans but people looking to be entertained for a night. This year, the audience has the opportunity to vote for a fan favorite as well as for next year’s red herring prop. Guest judges will be deciding on a first and second grand-prize winner at the end of the showings, as well. The winners will be announced at a reception following the final Sunday performance. Everyone is welcome to attend and partake in refreshments, cake and joyous camaraderie.
Catch TheatreFest at any one of three performances: July 13 at 8 p.m., July 14 at 8 p.m., and July 15 at 2:30 p.m. For $10, you can get a ticket to one of the most unique play-going experiences around. “There is just such great diversity between the plays, and when we read them, we just felt them in our hearts,” Moushey said, clasping her hand to her chest. “I just know they will be well-received by the audience.”